Work for change at arrogant health plans by becoming a shareholder

LETTER — Posted Nov. 14, 2005

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Regarding "Doctors ask court to compel Cigna to pay" (Article, Sept. 5): Physicians nationwide are being abused by all health insurance companies. Health insurance companies are arrogant and elusive. They refuse to negotiate contracts with physicians. Their policy regarding contracts is "take it or leave it."

Profits of Aetna, Humana, United and all the rest are huge, and their stocks are soaring. I held my nose and purchased Humana and United stock several months ago, and I have realized gains of over 30% in both of these stocks.

It seems to me that physicians need to begin buying stock in all the health insurance companies that we hate so that we can have some measure of influence on their business practices. While it would probably not be possible to gain majority control of any one company (a majority of stocks are held by institutions), we could, perhaps, get a practicing physician on the boards of directors of one or more health insurance companies. Ownership of only one share entitles one to speak at annual meetings.

This seems like a way to change the course of these arrogant companies that are taking our profits for their own while getting some of what is ours back in the form of growth in stock value and dividends.

Larry W. James, MD, Austin, Texas

Note: This item originally appeared at http://www.ama-assn.org/amednews/2005/11/14/edlt1114.htm.

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